Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Fall 2012 Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars


Law Race and Literature

01:090:250 Index#08026
Allan Isaac, SAS - American Studies
TTH 05:35-06:55P
Ruth Adams Building Rm 018
Douglass Campus

Law, Race and Literature: Law and Literature both inhabit the realm of interpretation, rhetoric, form, ethics and epistemology; they mediate our relationship to society and shape how we imagine the world and ourselves. This course introduces Critical Race Theory, a movement in critical legal studies led by African American, Latino and Asian American legal scholars. How does the law inform how we talk about and imagine race? Informed by literary studies, postmodernism, feminism, and continental political philosophy, this eclectic group of scholars and practitioners continues the civil rights tradition by challenging set liberal premises and racial orthodoxies to open up new ways of thinking about race and interpretation. Readings include work Charles Chesnutt’s Marrow of Tradition; Melville’s Benito Cereno; Hwang’s M Butterfly, and critical works by Kimberley Crenshaw, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, Kenji Yoshino.

War on Terror in a Post-9/11 World

01:090:251 Index#08027
Michael Welch, SAS - Criminal Justice
TTH 03:20-04:40p
Lucy Stone Hall A215
Livingston Campus

As the title suggests “War on Terror in a Post-9/11 World” sets out to explore the political and legal landscape of America's counter-terrorism campaign since September 11th, 2001. The interdisciplinary seminar unfolds in three parts: (1) the war on terror at home; (2) the war on terror abroad; (3) recent shifts in criminal justice and social control. In the first segment students will critique Scapegoats of September 11th: Hate Crimes and State Crimes in the War on Terror (Michael Welch, 2006, Rutgers University Press). Some of the key topics include: Talking About Terror; Seeking a Safer Society; Scapegoating and Social Insecurity; Crusading Against Terror; Hate Crimes as Backlash Violence; Profiling in Post-9/11 America; Claiming Effectiveness; Assaulting Civil Liberties; and Culture of Denial. Turning attention to America's war on terror beyond its territory students shall examine the following book: Crimes of Power & States of Impunity: The U.S. Response to Terror (Michael Welch, 2009, Rutgers University Press). Among the issues to be discussed are: A New Configuration of Power; Unlawful Enemy Combatants; Guantánamo Bay; Torture; Ordering Iraq; Collateral Damage; Governing through Terror; and States of Impunity.

MICHAEL WELCH is a Professor in the Criminal Justice Program where his research interests include punishment, social control, and Foucault studies. He served as a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics, as well as a Visiting Professor at Facolta di Giurisprudenza, Universita Degli Studi di Bologna (Italy) and Facultad de Ciencias Juridicas y Sociales, Universidad Nacional del Litoral (Santa Fe, Argentina). In 2010, he was a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney (Australia). (see

The Evolution of the Global Energy System: From Earth's Deep Past to Civilization's Future

01:090:252 Index#08028
Robert Kopp, SAS - Earth & Planetary Sciences and Rutgers Energy Insttitute
TF 11:30A-12:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

The flow of energy drives natural and human systems. The balance between incoming solar energy and outgoing thermal energy is the fundamental driver of Earth’s climate. The photosynthetic transformation of solar energy to chemical energy, and the respiratory transformation of chemical energy to other forms of chemical energy, to useful work, and to heat drive almost all of Earth’s biosphere. The development of human civilization has been closely tied to the ability to capture an ever-increasing fraction of the Earth’s energy budget, first primarily through agriculture and later primarily through combustion of fossil fuels. As a side effect, humanity is effecting major changes to both the climate and the biosphere in which it evolved. Concerns about these changes and about the security of energy supplies are major drivers of modern economic and policy decisions.

This seminar, intended for students from all academic majors, will examine the evolution of energy supply, energy demand and the global energy system as a whole, from the rise of photosynthesis to the development of agriculture, the Industrial revolution, and the modern, carbon-constrained world. It will investigate the historical relationship between energy use and economic welfare and possible scenarios for the coupled development of the global energy system and Earth's climate over the coming centuries. Familiarity with basic mathematical and scientific concepts (comparable to high school physics) will be assumed; moderately sophisticated mathematics (e.g., calculus) will be discussed but not required for homework.

ROBERT KOPP is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences and Associate Director of the Rutgers Energy Institute. His research focuses in part on understanding different past states of the Earth system and the transitions between them, in order to test models of future global change, and in part on integrated assessment of the effects of policy on energy, economic and climate systems. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty, Professor Kopp was a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Office of Climate Change Policy & Technology and a Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy postdoctoral research fellow in Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs and its Department of Geosciences. He received his Ph.D. in geobiology from Caltech and his S.B. in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago.

Entitlement Reform; What Is It and What Does It Mean for Grandma?

01:090:253 Index#08109
Jeffrey Rubin, SAS - Economics
MTH 12:00-01:20P
Lucy Stone Hall A215
Livingston Campus

In the very near future the President (whoever it is) and Congress is going to have make some tough choices. Many of these decisions will affect students and their parents and grandparents in both direct and indirect ways. Yet, very few of those affected understand what the options are or how they would be personally affected. Instead, people complain and want government to keep its hands off 'my Medicare' while complaining about wasteful spending on the 'undeserving' poor.

The current debate over the 'need' to balance the budget has led to calls for entitlement reform and tax increases. Exactly what does 'entitlement reform' mean? In this course we will explore the main features of the major entitlement programs in America. These include the Social Security Old Age and Survivors program, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance and various public policy incentives written into the tax code such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which are often described as 'loopholes.'

We will explore what entitlement reform would mean for different generations in the United States and for the rich and the poor. We will begin with a review of the key features of each program; not many people truly understand how these programs are financed, what the benefits are, how they are calculated and who is eligible. Next, we will turn our attention to a description and assessment of numerous kinds of 'entitlement reform proposals.' While our approach to evaluating entitlement reform proposals will largely use the kind of analysis typically common in economics we will go beyond that to consider the social, moral and political implications of the various proposed entitlement reforms.

JEFFREY RUBIN (Ph.D., Duke, 1975), professor of Economics, has published research on the economics of disability, the costs of mental illness, the economic aspects of mental health litigation and the economic consequences of spinal cord injury. He is the author of Economics, Mental Health and the Law (1978). He co-edited Reform and Regulation in Long Term Care (1979); and edited Alternatives in Rehabilitating the Handicapped: A Policy Analysis (1982). His current research is on Medicare policy. He is also interested in assessing measures of economic loss in malpractice cases and other types of personal injury litigation.

21st Century Myth: the Alien Among Us

01:090:254 Index#08029
Jerry Flieger, SAS - French
TF 01:10-02:30P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

Freud said that myth may be considered 'the dreams of young humanity.' But are we still producing 'myth' today? What effect do the new social configurations and information technologies have on 'millennial' myths in the making?

In this seminar we will examine three emergent myths of 'alienation' or crisis that all have roots in the information age and new technology and to the human response to radical Otherness or imminent crisis: the predictions of apocalypse or doomsday (the 2012 Mayan prophecyfor instance) the fascination with extraterrestrials as Others that may be visiting earth and the myth of the cyborg/supermachine as a technological Other that threatens to dominate the species that invented it.

Each of these 'myths' has roots in real conditions today but also serves some of the creative ritual and social functions that myth has always served for the species. Using Freudian theory (and others such as the theories of Eliade Cassirer Jung and Joseph Campbell) we will look at how emerging myths are created and disseminated how and if they reflect reality (or a strategy of denial of reality) and what they borrow from traditional bodies of mythology. Much of emergent myth is based on prophecy new science and a new concept of what it is to be 'human' as a species that is possibly not alone in the cosmos in control of its own destiny or destined exist forever or the earth it has imperiled. The course will also look to Freudian theory to consider myth as symptom and its status vis-a-vis belief (is it real?) as well as denial or ridicule. In other words some myth may reflect a strategy for coping with terrifying 'real' conditions as either escapism or a collective mechanism of managing an uncertain future.

Readings will include several texts by Freud and Campbell and some films will also serve as discussion material (Bladerunner and more current science fiction treatments of the alien the cyborg and the future apocalypse).

Atrocity Crimes and Legal Response

01:090:255 Index#08030
Michael Levine, SAS - German Russian & E Euro Lang&Lit
TTH 01:10-02:30P
35 College Avenue Rm 302
College Ave Campus

The seminar will focus on the legal political historical and pedagogical issues raised by efforts to create coherent judicially manageable responses to unprecedented crimes. We will examine how the criminal trial has been used as a tool of collective pedagogy as a means by which to construct and strengthen new national identities and as a privileged stage on which collective struggles to come to terms with historical trauma have been played out. In addition to studying the most important human rights trials of the past sixty years and the legal precedents they have set,  we will examine truth commissions and other non-prosecutorial responses to collective violence and state-sponsored atrocities. Readings will be supplemented by screenings of trial proceedings documentary films and discussions with human rights advocates.

Topics include: introductory sessions on the human rights story crimes against humanity and the “Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;” the Nuremberg trials; the Auschwitz trials; the Eichmann trial: the Klaus Barbie trial; truth commissions with a special focus on the South African TRC; the Balkan trials and gender-specific war crimes; international criminal tribunal for Rwanda.

Readings by Minow, Nino Robertson,  Jackson Hochhut,  Douglas Arendt,  Butler Felman,  Hayner Rosenberg,  Borraine Powers,  Salzman Gourevitch,  Sacco Des Forges, as well as screenings of documentary films.

MICHAEL LEVINE is Professor of German, Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.  He is the author of The Belated Witness: Literature, Testimony, and the Question of Holocaust Survival (Stanford University Press, 2006) and Writing Through Repression: Literature, Censorship, Psychoanalysis (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).  He is co-editor with Bella Brodzki of a special issue of Comparative Literature Studies, "The Trials of Trauma" (2011) with contributions on such topics as the Eichmann, Barbie, and Australian Stolen Generation trials and the South African TRC.  He is currently engaged in work on the memory of Jews in post-WW II France and the Klaus Barbie trial, and is completing a book (under contract with Fordham University Press) on 20thC German-Jewish literature and thought.   Professor Levine teaches courses on Serious Comics, Literary Theory, Franz Kafka, and German-Jewish Intellectual History. 

The Maya Apocalypse of 2012 and the Western Imagination

01:090:256 Index#11353
Camilla Townsend, SAS - History
TF 11:30a-12:50P
35 College Avenue Rm 302
College Ave Campus

Today many people around the world believe that the Mayas foretell the end of the world in 2012. However, their ancient religion contains no such prognostication. The Mayan apocalypse was actually invented by westerners and for westerners. In the United States, we have a long history of thinking mythically about native peoples. We have loved to believe, for example, that the Aztecs mistook Hernando Cortés for a god, that Pocahontas fell wildly in love with John Smith, that Uncas was the very last of the Mohicans. What kinds of stories have we tended to project on Native Americans? Why do we love these narratives? How do they serve our interests? Do they harm anyone? We will try to answer these political and moral questions by looking at historical, literary and cinematic sources. Texts will range from those considered to be “difficult”—like certain ancient Aztec and Mayan writings—to those considered to be “easy”—like the modern films, El Dorado or Avatar. But in analyzing the deep structure of each of them, we will see that they are all in fact equally complex in terms of the messages they convey, and thus all are worthy of careful consideration if we do not want to be too accepting of what we have been subtly taught.

CAMILLA TOWNSEND is a professor of History specializing in colonial confrontations generally and the Mesoamerican past specifically. She recently received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation to pursue a study of the histories written by Mesoamerican peoples in the sixteenth century in their own languages, for their own descendants. She is the author of four books, among them Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma (2004) and Malintzin’s Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (2006). Townsend is a local product: she grew up in New York City and did her doctoral work at Rutgers. Her two sons are Jersey boys.

Quantum Reality
01:090:257 Index#08031
Sheldon Goldstein, SAS - Mathematics
MW 03:20-04:40P
SEC Room 218
Busch Campus

Prerequisite: To the degree that knowledge of quantum mechanics is necessary for this course, the relevant material will be developed as we go along. No prior acquaintance with physics, quantum or classical, will be assumed on the part of the students—though it would of course be helpful. Knowledge of elementary calculus, as would be obtained for example in a high school advanced-placement calculus course, will, however, be expected, as will a healthy curiosity about the nature of physical reality.


1] Quantum Reality : Beyond the New Physics, by Nick Herbert
2] Boltzmann’s Atom : The Great Debate That Launched a Revolution in Physics, by David Lindley
3] The Character of Physical Law, by Richard Feynman
4] The Evolution of Physics, by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld
5] An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, by David Hume

Written work: The major assignments for the course will be essays concerning either the reading or what has been discussed in class. There may also be some shorter assignments, in addition to the reading.  

Without the belief that it is possible to grasp the reality with our theoretical constructions, without the belief in the inner harmony of our world, there could be no science. This belief is and always will remain the fundamental motive for all scientific creation. (Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld in The Evolution of Physics) Quantum theory is the most successful physical theory yet devised.  Not one of the multitude of its calculated predictions has ever been found wanting, even in the last measured decimal place. All the same, it is a bizarre theory, so much so that Richard Feynman, one of the deepest scientist-thinkers of our century and one not known for his intellectual (or any other) modesty, once said that “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” According to its traditional Copenhagen interpretation, quantum mechanics marks a sharp departure from the belief and scientific ideal of Einstein, expressed by the above quotation, replacing it with the view that the aim of physics is not to grasp any objective reality but merely to describe our observations, and that, indeed, there is no quantum reality. Many physicists have been unhappy with such an austere view of quantum physics, and they have provided us with a bewildering variety of peculiar quantum realities and quantum paradoxes, including multiple universes (the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics), observer-created reality, spooky-action-at-a-distance, reality founded upon a repudiation of classical logic, reality grounded in minds alone (the many-minds interpretation of quantum mechanics), and a reality involving transitions from irreducible potentiality to definite actuality. At the same time, it has often been claimed that quantum phenomena are demonstrably incompatible with a more normal and less romantic account of physical reality, one in which objects of a precise and unambiguous character behave in a coherent and sensible way. In other words, it has been claimed that the sort of reality that Einstein might have found acceptable is impossible.

In this seminar we shall explore these claims about and versions of quantum reality. We shall try to judge the extent to which these strange realities and the claims denying the possibility of a more ordinary account of quantum phenomena are genuinely supported by solid evidence and analysis. In so doing, we shall also examine some specific proposals reputedly refuting most of the impossibility claims and assertions of quantum strangeness.

SHELDON GOLDSTEIN is a Professor of Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy. He worked for many years on probability theory and the rigorous foundations of statistical mechanics. In particular, he has investigated the arrow of time and the notion of entropy, why it tends to increase, and why physical systems tend to approach equilibrium. In more recent years his main concern has been with the foundations of quantum mechanics, where he has focused on Bohmian mechanics and on nonlocality. The goal of this research is to make sense, good clean sense, of quantum theory.

Philosophy of Literature

01:090:258 Index#08032
Peter Kivy, SAS - Philosophy
TTH 01:10-02:30P
1 Seminary Place Library
College Ave Campus

This seminar will deal with such questions as the definition of literature, the ontology of literary works, the nature of fiction, the emotional reaction of the audience to fiction, the problem of interpretation, the problem of literary value, and the experience of silent reading.  The teaching goal of the course is, of course, to master the material as outlined above.  But it is hoped as well that the philosophical analysis of literature with which the course concerns itself will have the lasting effect of stimulating students to both appreciate and think about the great literary works of the canon in their future lives outside of the academy. 

PETER KIVY is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, and a past President of the American Society for Aesthetics.  He is the author of numerous books and articles on aesthetics and philosophy of art.  His degrees include an MA in Musicology from Yale University, a PhD in Philosophy from Columbia University, and an Honorary Doctor of Music from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

The Science and Life of Albert Einstein

01:090:259 Index#16171
John Hughes, SAS - Physics & Astronomy
MW 02:50-04:10P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

In this seminar, we will explore the development of 20th century physics and astronomy through the contributions of Albert Einstein. Students will gain an understanding of special and general relativity, the development of modern physics through the 20th century, and the crucial role of Einstein's theories in modern astronomy and cosmology.

We begin with an examination of the state of physics at the turn of the 20th century and the so-called myth of the "end of physics." We contrast the fields of physics and astronomy at this time based on a set of popular level lectures given in the 1920's.  Newton's definition of absolute space and time, taken from the Principia, sets the stage for an in-depth review of Special and General Relativity, following Einstein's popular book from 1915.  We will explore the consequences of these theories, and will look at some of the detailed tests, including the famous eclipse expedition of 1919 that established these theories as among the most important laws of physics.

In the latter part of the seminar, we fast forward to the modern era and reveal why Einstein's theories are at the forefront of astronomy and cosmology. We will cover gravitational lensing, the big bang theory, evidence for cosmic acceleration and other topics according to the tastes of the class.

Throughout the seminar, we will look at Einstein as an icon in the world at large.  He was a notorious pacifist, yet he encouraged Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb.  He was also deeply religious, but not in a traditional sense.

The seminar will entail weekly readings and written assignments that are expected to form the basis for extensive class discussion.  One or two longer papers will be assigned for credit as well.

This seminar is for non-science majors, although some background in physics and mathematics will be helpful.

JOHN P. HUGHES grew up in NYC and attended Columbia University.  He was a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory until 1996 when he moved to Rutgers, where he is currently a Professor of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Hughes uses both space- and ground-based astronomical observatories to research various topics in astrophysics and cosmology.  (For more information visit his web site

Homer's Odyssey: Mythology Psychology and Politics
01:090:260 Index #48916
Steven Walker - SAS - Asian Languages and Cultures
T 06:10 -09:00P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

Many students may have already read Homer’s Odyssey or parts thereof, but this is one of those books that really are worth rereading and rethinking. There are 24 chapters in the Odyssey, and we will be reading and discussing 2-3 of them each week in the translation by Robert Fitzgerald. We will be using a recent commentary (Frederick Ahl and Hanna M. Roisman, The Odyssey Re-Formed) for initial inspiration and stimulation. But the bulk of our seminar work together will simply be letting our minds and imaginations work on the text through close reading and discussion, and seeing what we come up with. Homer can mean many different things to many different people, as we will surely discover.

The mythological side of the Odyssey is one of the things that have made it fascinating for each new generation of readers. We will look carefully at the rich mythological world of the Odyssey with a special eye for psychological meaning and insight, especially as regards the initiation process of a young man (Telemachus), a young woman (Nausicaa), an older man (Odysseus), and an older woman (Penelope). But there has also been a perennial fascination with the historical subtext: did Odysseus (or someone like him) really exist? Does what Homer tells us about him, his island Ithaca and his society actually correspond to history? The now classic study The World of Odysseus by Moses Finley will give us a look at some of what lay behind the heroic legends of this epic of seafaring and adventure. Finally, the Odyssey turns out to have an special relevance for the discussion and the resolution of one major problem our society is facing today, and it is Jonathan Shay’s book Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming that will lead us from the world of ancient heroic epic to the problems of modern war.

STEVEN F. WALKER, Professor of Comparative Literature, majored in Greek as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, and continued to study ancient Greek literature in his work for a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard. The Odyssey has long been one of his favorite books, but, oddly enough, although he has thought about it a lot, he hasn’t written or published much on it—perhaps he wished to keep it a book mainly for pleasure reading and not for academic analysis? In all events, it is his pleasure with the text that he would like most to share with you.

Anti Apartheid and Civil Rights Movements: King and Mandela - Lessons In Leadership

01:090:262 Index#37135
Ronald Quincy, School of Social Work
TTH 04:30-05:50P
390 George Street Room 515
College Ave Campus

This seminar will examine the strategic ways in which leaders have sought to institutionalize their activism and public dissent. The class will utilize an interactive discussion format. On a macro-level, the focus will include founders of civil and human rights organizations and other social change pressure groups. On a micro-level, we will contrast leadership roles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his co-founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Nelson Mandela and his leadership role in the African National Congress (ANC).

Students will explore a combination of readings of great social movement thinkers such as David Thoreau and draw from original case studies to provide comparative and contrasting ideas of King and Mandela, along with other influencers. The important role of interracial and interfaith groups during these time periods will be explored along with issues pertaining to self-sacrifice and the ethics of movement leadership will also be addressed. Students will conduct as a group an original social scientific research project on aspects of leadership, consisting of on-line survey research, interviews or focus groups.

Utilizing real world interactions with former ANC and civil rights activists, the instructor will facilitate student-led interactions with selected leaders. Students will form in-class role-play debate teams.  The Students will develop a comprehensive annotated leadership chronology; and leadership decision analysis matrix for a selected historical figure, or of the students.  Students will prepare mock contemporary conversations between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela as they reflect on their historical figure’s political and social change best practices and leadership lessons learned.

RONALD L. QUINCY, PhD (Michigan State University) is currently Director, Center for Nonprofit Management and Governance, and Lecturer (Professor), School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Dr. Quincy teaches courses in the nonprofit and management concentration. His research interests are organizational leadership, governance, community empowerment, and diversity in the human services sector. Dr. Quincy is formerly an associate vice president at Harvard University, where he also served as assistant to the president of Harvard. Dr. Quincy has served two governors as a state cabinet officer in Michigan, Special Assistant to the Secretary, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Executive Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, President of the White House Fellows Foundation, Executive Director/President Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Foreign Affairs Advisor, US State Department, and Director of the Office of Human Resource Policy, State of Michigan. Ron has served on special advisory boards for a number of institutions including MIT, Harvard, and Michigan State. He also served on the governing board of Egleston Children's Hospital (Emory University), Michigan Criminal Justice Commission, Governor's Task Force on School Violence and Vandalism, among others public service agencies. Earlier in his career, Dr. Quincy served as a White House Fellow.

Probability Quantum Mechanics Space and Time

01:090:263 Index#16172
Thomas Banks, New High Energy Theory Center
MTH 08:40-10:000A
SEC  Room 218
Busch Campus

The seminar will try to introduce students to the very basics of quantum mechanics, its weird but inevitable description of the world, and the physical reasons that the rules of quantum mechanics seem so alien to us.

After a brief discussion of the principles of science and the scientific method, we'll talk about the theory of probability.  Probability was originally introduced to discuss systems which are deterministic, but about which we have only partial knowledge.   It enables us to make statistical predictions and it permeates the worlds of finance, politics and a host of other essential parts of ordinary life.  We'll then discuss why ANY system actually has an Uncertainty Principle:  Not everything that can be known about the system can be known with certainty at any one time.  This is the essential lesson of quantum mechanics, which gives a method for predicting probabilities for everything.   We'll also learn why big objects, made of many atoms, seem to behave as if their behavior COULD be predicted with certainty.  The course will involve only elementary algebra, unless the level of mathematical expertise of all of the students requires it to be taught at a higher level.

THOMAS BANKS got his BA from Reed College in Portland, OR, in 1969 and his Ph.D. at MIT in 1973.  He has worked at Tel Aviv University, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Rutgers, and held numerous visiting appointments at Stanford and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  His areas of specialization are theoretical particle physics, cosmology, quantum field theory and string theory.  In 2010 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Biological Basis of Cancer

01:090:264 Index#16541
Audrey Minden, Pharm - Chemical Biology
W 01:40-04:40P
Lucy Stone Hall A215
Livingston Cam

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world and despite advances in treatment it remains one of the most dreaded diagnoses. At the same time studying cancer presents fascinating challenges for scientists. In this seminar we will discuss the biological basis of cancer. We will discuss basic cell biology as it relates to cancer and how cancer cells differ from normal cells. We will study what kinds of changes cells go through to become cancer cells and what are some of the genes and proteins that are thought to play key roles in the disease. This will include a discussion of tumor suppressor genes oncogenes and tumor viruses as well as changes in cell shape motility and signaling. We will also discuss new advances in cancer treatment and the kinds of roles that both academic labs and pharmaceutical companies play in developing new drugs designed to combat the disease. We will discuss new technologies that may lead to more individualized cancer treatment as well as new ideas in cancer prevention.
The seminar will include critical analysis of scientific papers as well as lay news articles such as those found in the New York Times Science section. Students are expected to give two presentations based on the topics discussed in the course and to prepare one written report. This course is open to students with and without a science background there are no prerequisites.

AUDREY MINDEN received her PhD in Genetics from the University of Illinois, and was a postdoctoral fellow at University of California at San Diego where she studied signal transduction. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Laboratory for Cancer Research at the School of Pharmacy at Rutgers. Her research interests include studying cellular signal transduction pathways that are activated in cancer, using cell culture and animal models. She also teaches Molecular Biotechnology to PharmD Pharmacy students at Rutgers.

Meaning & Morality: Questions About Who We Are How People Act And What We Should Believe About Good And Evil

01:090:265 Index#08034
Larry Temkin, SAS - Philosophy
TH 09:50A-12:50P
35 College Avenue Rm 302
College Ave Campus

This seminar will explore some of the most profound questions humans have addressed.  Of special concern will be questions about good and evil, justice and equality, freedom and autonomy, and the meaning of human existence.  This seminar will be taught by a moral philosopher, and special emphasis will be laid on approaching these questions philosophically.  But the seminar aims to combine literary, philosophical, and historical insights and perspectives in addressing these profound issues. 

Readings may include Pascal’s Pensees, Kant’s Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, Nietzsche’s Geneology of Morals, Glover’s Humanity:  A Moral History of the Twentieth Century, selected stories by Kafka, Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, Spiegelman’s Maus, and selections from Martin Luther King Jr., including Letter from a Birmingham Jail.  All these readings are absolutely first-rate, and some are amongst the most important and influential writings in the history of western thought. 

The seminar will require significant amounts of reading and writing, regular attendance, and frequent participation in classroom discussion.  It will emphasize critical thinking, careful writing, thoughtful expression, and deep reflection on fundamentally important issues.  Students will be required to do regular short homework assignments and two papers (~ 7 - 9 pages and ~ 9 - 12 pages).  Papers will be expected to combine rigor, analysis, and arguments with originality, insight, and depth.

This seminar should be one of the most interesting and important classes that you ever take.  With your help, it should also be a great deal of fun. 

LARRY TEMKIN is Professor II of Philosophy.  A specialist in ethics and social and political philosophy, Temkin is one of the world’s foremost experts on equality and the nature of the good.  Professor Temkin graduated number one from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a B.A.-Honors Degree, and received his Ph.D. from Princeton University.  Professor Temkin has received numerous honors and awards, including Fellowships from the Danforth Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center, Harvard University’s Program in Ethics and the Professions, All Souls College Oxford University, the National Institutes of Health, the Australian National University, and Princeton University as the Laurance S Rockefeller Visiting Professor of Distinguished Teaching.  Before coming to Rutgers, Professor Temkin taught at Rice University, where he won seven major teaching awards, including each of Rice’s highest teaching awards, as voted on by peers, current students, and former students.  In addition, Temkin received Rutgers’s 2008 School of Arts and Sciences Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education.  Temkin is also acutely aware that none of this means diddly-squat to current students!  Nor should it. 

Jane Austen and her World

01:090:266 Index# 
Lynn Festa, SAS - English
MW 01:10-02:30P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

Why are there so many soldiers stationed in the seemingly sleepy provincial towns where the novels of Jane Austen are so often set?  Jane Austen may be linked in our minds with a circumscribed world of country towns, flowing dresses and decorous manners, but she lived at a moment of immense historical turmoil, marked by famine, political repression, civil tumult at home, and slavery, revolution, and the Napoleonic Wars abroad.  This course will explore the novels of Jane Austen and modern cinematic and literary adaptions of her works, with specific attention to the historical and cultural contexts out of which her writings emerged.  Ranging from the scurrilous satiric prints of the period to newspaper reports on the Revolutions in France and in Haiti, from the picturesque paintings of a tranquil British countryside by Gainsborough and his followers to the devastation of war as depicted in the canvases of Goya, from treatises on landscaping and gardening to outraged polemics against plantation slavery, we will consider not only literary and historical texts but also material artifacts like snuffboxes, jewelry, clothing and furniture.  Together we will paint a picture of the world Jane Austen inhabited and of the relationships her novels establish to the greater world beyond her immediate grasp, as we reflect on the relationship between the seemingly sequestered universe of Austen’s novels and the tumultuous times in which she lived.  What is at stake in the decision to represent— or to block out— historical events happening elsewhere in the world?   

Requirements: regular class participation, one short paper on an assigned topic, and one longer paper/research project of their own design.

LYNN FESTA (BA Yale 1990; PhD University of Pennsylvania 2000) is an associate professor in the English department, specializing in eighteenth-century British and French literature.  Before joining the Rutgers faculty in 2008, Professor Festa taught for seven years at Harvard University, where she was the recipient of two university teaching prizes, and for two years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she received a departmental teaching award.  She has written a book on empire and eighteenth-century sentimental literature, and co-edited a book on postcolonial theory and Enlightenment thought.  She is currently working on a book about the relationship between persons and things, humans and animals, in the eighteenth century.

The 2012 Presidential Election

01:090:269 Index#16190
David Greenberg, SC&I-Journalism & Media Stds
W 01:10-04:10P
35 College Avenue Rm 302
College Ave Campus

The seminar will look at the 2012 election and allow students to think in a more rigorous, scholarly fashion about a topic that many of them will be talking about anyway. We will follow the ups and downs and twists and turns of the election season; but we will also place these issues in historical context, use the insights of political scientists to challenge conventional wisdom or journalistic clichés, and study media and communications research to understand how the election is being portrayed to voters.

DAVID GREENBERG is Associate Professor in the departments of Journalism & Media Studies and History.  His specialty is U.S. political history.  He earned his BA from Yale University (summa cum laude, 1990) and his PhD from Columbia University (2001); he has taught at Rutgers since 2004.  His books include Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image, and Presidential Doodles.  Before entering academia, he was managing editor and acting editor of The New Republic and he still writes for publications such as The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Slate.

Bodies in Social Interaction

01:090:270 Index#11255
Galina Bolden, SC&I - Communication
M 09:50A -12:50P
Brett Hall Seminar Room
College Ave Campus

Our bodies play a central role in how we construct meaning and actions through social interaction with each other in the diverse settings that make up a society’s social worlds. In this seminar, we will analyze embodied behaviors not as an isolated, self-contained code but in relation to language, processes of human interaction, and the rich settings where people conduct their lives. We will examine the role of different kinds of embodied behaviors (i.e., body orientation and posture, eye gaze, gestures, laughter, prosody, etc.) in carrying out fundamental human activities in talk-in-interaction, including establishing joint foci of attention, coordinating turn-taking, repairing interactional problems, negotiating meaning, and constructing and negotiating interpersonal relationships. We will also consider embodied communicative behaviors in a variety of professional settings, such as courtrooms, archeological sites, doctors’ offices, and public speaking arenas. This seminar is interdisciplinary and will incorporate materials from the fields of communication, anthropology, linguistics, and sociology.

Videotapes of actual, everyday interactions will be used as a primary source of data, and ordinary face-to-face interactions will be treated as a prime site for studying embodied communicative conduct.  We will inspect videotaped recordings of interactions to discover how people assemble the actions that make up ordinary social life and will produce empirically-based analyses of some of those practices.

Students will be engaged in a guided semester-long research project that will involve video recording, transcribing, and analyzing a naturalistic face-to-face interaction. The goals of the project are to develop technical and analytic skills for conducting empirical research on social interaction and to produce a detailed, original analysis of an embodied interactional phenomenon.

GALINA BOLDEN received her BA in Linguistics from the University of Minnesota, and her MA and PhD in Applied Linguistics from University of California, Los Angeles. Her research examines naturally occurring, video/audio-recorded social interactions in a variety of settings: ordinary conversations between family and friends, doctor-patient interactions conducted with the help of language interpreters, and conversations among co-workers at workplaces. She has conducted research on talk in Russian and English languages, as well as bilingual Russian-English conversations. Her current project focuses on communication in Russian immigrant families in the US.

Communications and Human Values

Permission to register requires a pre-scheduled interview with Professor Heffner.  He can be reached at 212.799.7979 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

01:090:271 Index#09417
Richard Heffner, SC&I - Communication
T 09:50A-12:50P
Scott Hall Rm 201
College Ave Campus

This seminar is an intellectual inquiry into the development of American public policy as it relates to mass communications.  It is not a practicum, not a "how-to" seminar about film and television, or not about the media generally. 

The seminar's purpose is to analyze how much of our sense of what it means to be an American early in the 21st century has been molded by the media -- first print and now increasingly electronic -- with particular reference to their socializing and value-legitimating content.  To learn then to deal appropriately and reasonably with such media power, students are asked first to identify their own respective approaches to the role of the state and its proper relationship to the individual through class discussion of such readings as Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion, Robert Merton's Mass Persuasion, J. S. Mill's On Liberty, Herman Melville's Billy Budd, and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death; of such films as Hearts and Minds, JFK, and Fahrenheit 9/11; and of the increasingly unfair and unbalanced rants and raves of America's newer communications outlets.

Finally, class emphasis is placed on analyzing and resolving such contemporary media issues as a Fairness Doctrine (the real or imagined "chilling effect" of a requirement for media fairness and balance); cameras in the courts (do televised trials enhance justice, or instead create a "mobocracy", with trial by a new jury of public opinion?); the importance of journalistic "privilege"; and media self-regulation (can there in fact be meaningful voluntary self-discipline in a free market, free speech, mass media-driven society?).

RICHARD D. HEFFNER is University Professor of Communications and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he began to teach in 1948.  Trained as an American historian, Mr. Heffner is the author of A Documentary History of the United States and the editor of Alexis de Tocqueville's classic Democracy In America.  His most recent book, a collaboration entitled Conversations With Elie Wiesel, derives from The Open Mind, the prize winning television program which he began in 1956 and which he still produces and moderates each week on public broadcasting stations around the country.  In 1961, after serving on-the-air and as an executive at CBS, ABC and NBC, Professor Heffner played a leading role in the acquisition and activation of Channel 13 in New York, becoming its Founding General Manager.  For twenty years (1974 to 1994), he also commuted to Hollywood, serving as Chairman of the Board of the motion picture industry's voluntary film classification and rating system.  Professor Heffner and his wife, Dr. Elaine Heffner, live in New York City.  They have two sons -- Daniel, a filmmaker; and Andrew, an Assistant New York State Attorney General -- and four grandchildren.